For our first Chart this week, we preview one of the new questions from our Q1 2016 wave of research – the motivations behind ad-blocking.

Perhaps surprisingly, privacy concerns are not a major driving force for this behavior. Although ad-blockers are slightly more likely than the average internet user to express privacy and data-related worries, it’s just 3 in 10 of them who are blocking ads because they believe they compromise their privacy. Similarly, it’s just a quarter who are blocking them because they dislike ads which are personalized based on their browsing history. It’s not that these privacy concerns are unimportant, it’s just that there are much bigger motivations at work.

In fact, the key finding here is that no matter the gender, age or income of the person, or the part of the world in which they live, they are most likely to be blocking ads because they feel that too many of them are annoying or irrelevant and because they believe there are too many ads on the internet. The industry might like to emphasize how ads fund free content but until there’s more control over the quantity and quality of ads – and until consumer experience is prioritized over numbers of ads served – there’s unlikely to be a major shift in attitude.


Written by

Felim is Senior Trends Manager at GWI. He oversees the Trends team who produce a wide range of off-the-shelf reports and infographics along with our Chart of the Day series. Moving to GWI after completing a PhD, Felim specializes in writing about online consumer behaviors and digital trends.

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